Family health premiums in 2013 rose 4 percent reaching an average of $16,351 according to the Kaiser Family Foundation’s Annual Benefits Survey.

Single premiums rose 5 percent to an average $5,884 per year.

While both increases are on pace with previous years it still leads observers to wonder where the national averages will be in five, ten or even 15 years. This summary highlights the key factors outlined in the survey’s results.

Health Insurance Premiums and Worker Contributions

The survey exposed that over the last 10 years, the average premium for family coverage has increased 80 percent. During that same time, wages and general inflation increased 1.8 percent and 1.1 percent, which shows that premiums increased almost three times as fast as wages and inflation.

Workers contributions were shown as follows:

  • Single plan workers contribute 18 percent of the premium, paying $999 on average per year.
  • Family plan workers contribute 29 percent of the premium, paying $4,565 on average per year.

Throughout the past year, 78 percent of all workers faced an annual deductible (up 6 percent from 2012) which averaged $1,135.

Wellness Programs

Nearly 77 percent of employers questioned in the survey offer at least one of the following wellness programs:

  • Weight Loss Program
  • Gym membership discounts
  • On-site exercise facilities
  • Biometric screening
  • Smoking cessation programs
  • Personal health coaching
  • Nutrition and healthy living classes
  • Web-based resources
  • Flu shots or vaccinations
  • Employee assistance programs
  • Wellness Newsletter

With these offerings, 36 percent of organizations offer a financial incentive to participate in a wellness program (i.e., smaller premium, smaller deductibles, higher HSS/HRA contribution or gift cards.) And more than half of organizations provide a biometric screening, but only 11 percent of those employers tie the measures to an incentive.

Affordable Care Act – Exchanges

Among organizations offering a fully-insured product 6 percent reported that they intend to self-insure because of the ACA. The remaining 94 percent of employers are learning more about the private health insurance exchanges and of that 94 percent, 29 percent are considering offering benefits through the private exchange.

“This will be an important issue to watch next year, as employers will have more flexibility and could ask workers to pay more because of their lifestyles and health conditions,” said Kaiser Vice President Gary Claxton.

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